GT-E Defined: Option Package
The features that turned a standard or XR-7 Cougar into a GT-E were all included in the GT-E option package. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price for the GT-E option was $1,311.00. The package could be ordered on either the standard or XR-7 body styles with the resulting price considerations:
|Body Style||Base Price||GT-E Option||Total Price|
While the $300.00 higher price of an XR-7 may not seem like much today, in 1968 it was significant, reflecting competitive pricing pressures in the muscle car market at that time.
A GT-E advertisement, placed by a dealer in a Daytona, FL newspaper, shows a list price of $5,131.51, and a sales price of $4,495.00 for an XR-7 GT-E. Several surviving GT-Es in the hands of their original owners are known to have sold in $4,000.00 to $4,500.00 range.
7.0 Litre Engines
Most people will recognize a GT-E by its exterior appearance. And because many believe that it, and only it in the Cougar line, had the 427 engine, that too became a defining feature. While it is true that all 357 1968 Cougars built with the 427 were GT-Es, it is also true that 37 additional GT-Es were built with 428 Cobra Jet Ram Air engines. The switch to the 428 for regular production came in May, 1968 and the last known produced 427 has a scheduled production date of June, 1968. Because the GT-E was a mid-model year introduction with scheduled production dates beginning in January, 1968, the published list of standard features included in the Salesman’s Databook, shows only the 427 engine.
Equipment in the GT-E Option Package
As we noted earlier, the 7.0 Litre GT-E was an option package available on 1968 Cougar standard and XR-7 models. The specific equipment provided in the GT-E option package included:
- Cougar 427E V-8 (4V) engine rated at 390 horsepower (before 5/68)
- 428 Cobra Jet Ram Air V-8 (4V) engine rated at 340 horsepower (after 5/68)
- Select-shift Merc-O-Matic three speed automatic transmission
- Super Competition Handling Package
- Radial-ply FR70 X 14 wide-tread WSW or red band tires
- Power front disc and rear drum brakes
- Power steering
- Power booster engine fan
- 7.0 Litre GT-E badges on front fenders
- Quad chrome exhaust pipe outlet tips
- Styled steel wheels
- Unique front grille with blacked-out vertical bars, and horizontal bright trim bar
- Power-dome hood with simulated air intakes.
- Unique 2-Tone paint; choice of 11 upper body colors*
- Unique body side moldings with silver gray argent below the molding.
- Bright engine dress-up kit, including chrome rocker covers, oil filler cap, dip stick, radiator cap, and air cleaner housing
* GT-E upper body colors: Onyx, Cardinal Red, Wellington Blue, Black Cherry, Glacier Blue, Madras Blue, Caribbean Blue, Augusta Green, Lime Frost Green, Grecian Gold, and Nordic Blue
Sales Handbook Equipment Summary
|Performance Equipment||Heavy Duty Battery||Standard|
|Power Transfer Axle||Optional|
|Performance Handling Pkg||Standard|
|Power Equipment||Power Front Disc Brakes||Standard|
|Radio Equipment||AM Radio||Optional|
|AM/FM Stereo Radiob||Optional|
|AM Radio/Stereo Tapec||Optional|
|Heating & A/C Equipment||Heater||Standard|
|Appearance Equipment||Door Edge Guardse||NA|
|Rear Bumper Guardsf||NA|
|Oxford Roof (vinyl)||Optional|
|Styled Steel Wheels||Standard|
|Decor Group Interior||Optional|
|Sports Console w/ Clock||Optional|
|Adjustable Headrests (front)||Optional|
|Visual Equipment||Left Hand Remote Mirror||Optional|
|Tinted Glass (complete)||Optional|
|Visual Check Paneli||Optional|
|Courtesy Light Group||Optional|
|Rear Window Defogger||Optional|
|Deluxe Shoulder Belts||Optional|
|Deluxe Rear Shoulder Beltsj||Optional|
|Rear Shoulder Beltsj||Optional|
- Speed control: although technically “available” for any Cougar with automatic transmission (which includes all GT-Es built except three), this was NOT available for a GT-E, presumably because there was no room left in the engine compartment for the cruise control box, cables, and air-actuation can. This was true for both the 427 and the 428 GT-Es, and therefore also applicable to the 428 CJ non-GT-Es.
- Included two speakers behind the front kick panels.
- Not available with AM/FM Stereo.
- Air conditioning: again, although technically “available” on the Cougar, A/C was not available on the GT-E because of engine compartment and firewall clearance problems (also presumably due to overheating).
- Door edge guards were thought to “interfere and disrupt” the GT-E paint and molding schemes, and were not available from the factory.
- Rear bumper guards ostensibly interfered with the quad exhaust tips. Also, it could be argued that front bumper guards “detracted” from the horizontal emphasis of the blacked-out front grille, making them undesirable aesthetically. Note, however, that pictures of early factory GT-E prototypes show the proverbial red car with front bumper guards. Several GT-Es are known to have come with front bumper guards from the factory.
- Of course GT-Es had 2-Tone paint, the primary exterior color and the lower argent. But, did you know that 1968 Cougars could be ordered with white, black, blue, green, and even beige METAL painted tops?
- Yes, the bench seat was an option for the GT-E, too. No, none have been found, yet. The good news is that the body style code for a factory bench seat Cougar is 65C, which would appear on the left door data code plate, if so equipped.
- Visual Check Panel: Technically available on a GT-E prototype (that is before 1/1/68 when it was no longer available for any Cougar); none have been found.
- Rear Shoulder Belts: Same as in (i) above; one GT-E has been found with brackets for the belts, but no belts themselves.
For more details concerning the definition of a GT-E, select from the options below: